A woman’s body is the gateway to life. All humans alive today came from a woman. While women are proud of this God-given peculiarity, it isn’t without challenges. One of such challenges women face as a result of this is menstrual pains.
Menstrual pain (also called period pain) is known medically as Dysmenorrhea. This occurs when the uterus walls (the organ where a baby grows) contract too tightly during a woman’s menstrual period due to the presence of a chemical known as prostaglandin. Although it’s normal for the uterus to contract during a woman’s menstrual cycle, prostaglandin can make it contract too strongly to the extent where it presses hard against blood vessels that bring in oxygen. This leads to a reduced or outright cutoff in oxygen supply, leading to cramps and menstrual pains.
Dysmenorrhea is in two stages: primary Dysmenorrhea and secondary Dysmenorrhea. Primary Dysmenorrhea occurs over and over again. It is common and starts at almost the same time as a young girl starts seeing her menses.
On the other hand, secondary Dysmenorrhea is more severe than the average menstrual pain (primary Dysmenorrhea) women experience. It is usually brought about by some abnormalities or medical conditions in the body. Some of these conditions are:
· Adenomyosis – a condition where cells and tissues that line the uterus start growing in the uterus wall.
· Endonomyosis – a condition where cells and tissues that line the uterus start to grow outside the walls, such as in places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
· Fibroids – a condition where tumors (non-cancerous) grow in the uterus and make it seem complete.
· Pelvic Infections – a condition where the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are infected with bacteria causing them to be inflamed.
Lots of women are pretty familiar with menstrual pains. A study carried out in Europe showed that up to 70% of women in Europe claimed to have felt menstrual pains at one stage or another, of which 15% were reported to have (or have had) secondary Dysmenorrhea.
During menstrual pains, women feel a sharp and intense pain in the lower abdomen which may be accompanied by back and joint pains, pain in the hips and inner thighs, painful sex, bleeding during periods, irregular periods, and/or discharge of a thick substance with an offensive smell. A woman can feel one or more of these alongside pains in the lower abdomen.
Menstrual pains often start during or before the menstrual bleeding starts. It can last from 12 – 48 hours. Some women have even reported having experienced menstrual pains for up to 3 days or more even after their period. This, of course, depends on whether the menstrual pains are primary or secondary (from medical conditions).
If they result from primary Dysmenorrhea, menstrual pains can be taken care of by using conventional painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and the rest. You also have to take proper care of your body for the pains to go. Sound sleep, a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, warm bath, and relaxation techniques like massage, yoga, and the rest would go a long way in easing off menstrual pains. Placing a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower abdomen can also reduce the pains. In secondary Dysmenorrhea, medical professionals would apply the best practices to either remove any bacterial, fungi, or viral infection or correct anybody anomaly through surgeries for the woman to be whole again.
Menstrual pains can also be worsened by smoking, taking in much caffeine, or excess alcohol intake. It’s best to reduce the intake of these things or avoid them. You can get your family members to help you stop their intake if you are an addict.
If your menstrual pains exceed 3 days, please consult your physician. Don’t assume it’s the normal menstrual pain. When you relate your symptoms to them, together, you can decipher if it is primary or secondary Dysmenorrhea. The latter can be treated easily if detected early. Remember that menstrual pains do not interfere with fertility except when brought about by secondary Dysmenorrhea; therefore, there is no cause for alarm.